A family-owned ﬁrm with a history dating back to
the 1860s, the entire Stannah Group employs 1,600
people with 180 of them based at the Stannah Lifts
manufacturing centre at Anton Mill, Andover.
In 2008, 10 members of the Stannah Lifts team
took part in a pilot programme developed by
the Skills Academy and delivered by VT Training,
which has itself undergone an intensive upskilling
programme to become an approved Skills Academy
training provider. As a result, the company has
already seen a number of improvements on the
shop ﬂoor. Graeme Tonks, Manufacturing Manager
at Stannah Lifts explains: “We already look set to
break our target of reducing work hours per unit
by 10 per cent thanks to the training which has
equipped staff with the skills they need to identify
improvements on the shop ﬂoor.”
Meanwhile, as part of his NVQ, one member of
“The B-IT NVQ Investment in training pays off for
staff has helped to increase sales of spares by
has given me a Stannah 16 per cent. Spares Co-ordinator, Nick Powell,
much better As a leading brand renowned for the manufacture completely re-designed the company’s spares
understanding of of lifts and stairlifts, The Stannah Group has always catalogue, making it easier to use. As a result, he
the needs of the considered its workforce as one of its most valuable has halved the number of incoming calls from
business, as well as assets. With the help of the National Skills Academy agents and engineers requesting clariﬁcation on the
for Manufacturing (the Skills Academy), one part availability or suitability of individual parts.
the conﬁdence to
of the group is seeing remarkable returns on its Nick comments: “The B-IT NVQ has given me a
come forward with
investment in skills training. much better understanding of the needs of the
ideas to improve
Based in Andover, Hampshire, Stannah Lifts Limited business, as well as the conﬁdence to come forward
was amongst the ﬁrst companies in the UK to with ideas to improve performance.
Nick Powell obtain Investors in People status. In recent years “I worked on the new parts catalogue for over nine
Spares Co-ordinator Stannah has taken staff development to the next months as a project for the qualiﬁcation but I’m
level thanks to unique NVQ programmes in Business now developing an e-shop so that parts can easily
Improvement Techniques (B-IT), developed by the be ordered over the internet.”
Skills Academy to meet the company’s speciﬁc
The pilot NVQ Level 2 in B-IT was developed by Alastair Stannah, Managing Director of Stannah
utilising the Skills Academy’s Learning Engine Lifts Ltd, is equally delighted with the Skills
approach that ensures all training is linked to Academy and VT Training for their efforts in
business objectives and that skills learnt are put into ensuring that the training provided was bespoke,
practice in the workplace. Rather than searching rather than an ‘off-the-shelf’ product.
for arbitrary improvements that tick boxes for the
Alastair comments: “The Skills Academy has
qualiﬁcation, this revolutionary approach ensures
responded positively to our feedback during
all improvements are focussed on real business
the pilot and overall I’m sure that the resulting
priorities, unlike other B-IT programmes in the
programme has helped us to survive the current
economic slowdown. The project has been a very
At Stannah, it has proved so successful that a positive experience for everyone involved.”
second cohort is now embarking on the programme
Bill Twigg, Development Director for the Skills
whilst those that have completed the course
Academy, says their achievements reﬂect the
– which includes four, one day workshops – is
importance of matching training to clearly
embarking on a Level 3 qualiﬁcation.
identiﬁed business needs.
According to the Stannah Lifts Operations Director,
“We are delighted to be working with such a
Kim Saville, the B-IT programme also ﬁts well with
forward-thinking company that has taken a long-
the company’s ethos of staff development.
term view when it comes to staff development; as
“Continuous improvement runs through the veins of opposed to cutting costs short-term and losing their
the company and at any one time up to 40 per cent skill base.”
of staff are engaged with some form of training
activity,” Kim explains.
“However we felt that we had reached something
of a ceiling with continuous improvement and we
needed new tools to take this to a new level.
“We also wanted to ﬁnd a qualiﬁcation that would
equip employees with new skills, rather than Stannah Factﬁle
just recognising the ones they already had. It ■ Stannah was founded in the 1860s by
also needed to ﬁt in with our company business Joseph Stannah and remains a family
objectives. owned and managed business.
“The B-IT NVQ exactly meets our needs. It was ■ In 1999 the Stannah Stairlifts division of
almost too good to be true. The Skills Academy the Group received its third Queen’s Award
and Keith Jones from VT Training have worked for Export and in 2003 it received awards
hard to match both the content and delivery to from the Business Innovation Skills (BIS)
our own, individual needs. The end result is a for being the best manufacturing and
training programme tailored to meet our business engineering factory in the UK.
objectives.” ■ The Stannah Group consists of Stannah
Lifts Limited, Stannah Stair Lifts Limited,
Stannah Microlifts Limited and Stannah Lift
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